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Two recent fatal shootings share remarkable similarities — and not just in the disputes, but in the victims’ backgrounds.
Fatal shootings are uncommon in Oldham County — yet one occurred in Smithfield in September and one in Goshen earlier this month.
Oldham County Police arrived Oct. 15 at a residence along U.S. 42 near Goshen to find the body of Richard Hild, 63, killed by a gunshot wound in the chest.
Six weeks earlier, on Sept. 1, Kentucky State Police found the body of Nick Bibelhauser, 61, killed by a gunshot wound to the head at his Smithfield home.
Both men were shot by their brothers-in-law over property disputes. And both men survived armed burglaries at their homes years earlier.
Hild, of Crestwood, was shot by Emmitt Pendleton, 50, at Pendleton’s home near Goshen.
According to police, Pendleton said a verbal argument over a utility trailer turned violent when Hild assaulted him. Pendleton said he shot Hild in self-defense. Hild was unarmed.
And in Smithfield, Bibelhauser was allegedly shot by James Fowler, 57, his brother-in-law and next-door neighbor.
Kentucky State Police found Bibelhauser dead from a gunshot wound to the head.
“We have been out there several times over property disputes,” said KSP spokesperson Bradley Arterburn. “They live next to each other and have disputed over where a property line is.”
In fact, the two families have an ongoing lawsuit against each other in Henry County.
Both shootings occurred midday — Bibelhauser was shot around 3:20 p.m. on a Saturday and Hild around noon on a Monday.
While fatal shootings in the area are rare, most shootings do occur between family members, according to police.
Also rare are armed burglaries — but both Hild and Bibelhauser have been victims of those in the past, too.
Three shots were fired at Hild during a home invasion April 27, 2006, at his residence on New Cut Road.
Hild left home with his dogs for a walk, and when he returned, the dogs reacted strangely as they entered the home.
Hild told police he heard a noise in the basement and could see a man inside. When he shouted, three shots were fired at him.
Hild ran to a neighbor’s house to call 911 and watched four men flee into a wooded area. Hild told police the men left in a beat-up pickup truck parked near the house soon after the incident.
At the time, Oldham County Police warned residents to be alert.
“Anytime someone is brave enough to do something such as go into someone’s house and fire at them, they’ve obviously progressed beyond smaller crimes, and I don’t think they would be afraid to do anything else like that in the future,” Detective James Brown told WAVE 3 TV.
Items reported missing included six shotguns, $1,800 in cash and a ring.
No arrests were made in the case.
Two arrests were made in 2008 following the armed burglary of the Bibelhausers’ residence.
Bibelhauser, along with his wife and son, were held at gunpoint during a May 2, 2008, burglary.
Two armed masked men woke up the Bibelhausers, holding hostage Nick and son Tim while forcing wife Cheryl to lead one burglar through the house.
Several thousand dollars, guns and jewelry were stolen.
Two men were charged in connection to the burglary.
Robert Bryant, of Eminence, pleaded guilty in 2010, two years after his arrest, and was sentenced to 50 years in prison for burglary, robbery and unlawful imprisonment. His guilty plea also included failing to comply with the sex offender registry and one charge of first-degree persistent felony offender. He was given two years’ credit for time spent awaiting trial.
The Bibelhausers told police they recognized Bryant as one of the burglars. They sold him a motorcycle in 2007 and said they considered him a friend.
The second man, Johnny Lee Gibson, was acquitted by a Henry County jury earlier this year. Gibson was Bryant’s former roommate and faced charges of robbery, burglary and kidnapping.
The two men ate dinner together in La Grange the night before the burglary. They said they intended to meet a third person who attended Bryant’s church, although that person did not show up.
Bryant remains incarcerated at Roederer Correctional Complex.
Bibelhauser and Hild were both known for their dedication to the community.
Bibelhauser was a bus driver for The HDB Service Group who went above and beyond his work duties.
He often brought home-grown produce to his passengers and would drive passengers all the way to their front door on rainy days.
One passenger mentioned her embarrassment at her unkempt yard, and Bibelhauser showed up on a Saturday morning to mow it.
And after seeing a passenger nearly fall as she walked from her home, Bibelhauser power-washed her ramp.
Hild, a father of two, coached girls’ fastpitch softball for many years.
Mark Brockman, Crestwood Baptist Church recreation pastor, remembers Hild as a great coach.
“He had much compassion for the game and was so good with the girls,” he said.
Others remember Hild for bringing out the best in his players and teaching them they could succeed.
Hild’s shooter, Pendleton, told police he shot Hild in self-defense.
Pendleton is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and is scheduled to appear in Oldham district court on Oct. 31.
A police investigation into the shooting is ongoing.
Fowler, the alleged shooter of Bibelhauser, is charged with murder and held on a $100,000 bond at the Carroll County jail.
His next court appearance has not been scheduled.